Eco-Drift News: Our important eco journey this year and next steps

At Eco Drift, we take care of the soft facility services for schools, businesses and organisations. This is a big sector with lots of wasteful practices; we aim to change that and are starting by walking our own NetZero journey.

Our Carbon footprint for 1 Dec 21 -31 Nov 22 was calculated at 83.1 tonnes of CO2 e. This year, we are aiming to reduce this even further. 

To us, our journey has to be a holistic approach; what we do for ourselves, we have to instil in everyone we meet, from our employees and clients to the industry at large. You’ll see this come across in our marketing materials and even by talking to our people on the ground.

Where we started

We started our journey by building a more sustainable practice. We replaced harsh chemicals with eco-friendly alternatives (certified by Eco Label or Cradle2Cradle) that do a better job, and we introduced IoT innovation from workplace sensors to robotics to help us be more effective. As a result, our 4D cleaning solutions use 75% less water, have reduced reliance on electricity and have little to no waste.

This year, we also introduced workwear, towels and cleaning materials made from recycled plastics, using closed-loop manufacturers. These products last longer and can return to that recycling loop at the end of their life.

We use solar power for electricity on our premises and optimise travel and staffing to location zoning to reduce emissions. Our zoning approach creates clusters of customers served by the same team so that we can tackle their individual carbon footprint just as we tackle those at HQ. We find it also benefits our staff because they are never far from home; great for heading home after a busy day (evening or night) of cleaning.

As a business, we naturally want to expand, but we want to do that responsibly. We aim to expand in areas where we already have established teams, reducing time, transportation costs, and emissions. This means tailoring our decision-making process to factor in the costs of emissions and environmental impact.

Outside of our immediate business

For our clients, our NetZero journey experience reflects in the way we look at improving their working environments and a reduction of their waste. Some of these projects include increased recycling options, with robust processes that make sure recycled waste is separated and sent to the right plants for processing. We’ve even started using recycled bin bags so that every element of waste capture is as green as possible. We also work with our clients to plant more on-site trees for pollinators, donating time and money to initiatives that make a bigger difference to the environment for our clients and their staff.

This idea of being more socially responsible has seen us contribute to local beach cleans, helping reduce plastic pollution in our oceans. Something we will continue and grow upon.

Where we cannot be hands-on locally, we think nationally and globally by supporting “1% for the Planet”. We are donating 1% of our turnover to approved environmental projects in the UK and around the World. We support local rewilding and restoration projects to help decarbonise the UK and improve natural habitats.

We also want to inspire change throughout our industry by adopting and sharing the most sustainable practices. This means testing new products and technologies through which we create case studies for other facility managers. One such project is limescale removal with ultrasonic technology to reduce the use of descalers, chemicals and single-use plastics.

We work closely with our suppliers, too, in an effort to drive more change and accountability for carbon footprint and ESG. This means requesting more information and accountability about the credentials of our different products. With this, we can create an accurate database for the impact and savings different products and practices provide. That, in return, will reduce the greenwashing practices currently hounding ESG best practices, bring real data-driven results and measurements of carbon footprints, and a distinction between sustainable products and "pretenders" wrapped up in marketing campaigns.

Our biggest challenge is finding a reliable and accurate measuring tool for the carbon footprint of our supplied products. Many of our suppliers and manufacturers were missing vital information about the impact of the production. With little software or service provision for carbon footprint calculations, we have had no option but to calculate this in-house by basing calculations only on % of turnover. This makes it more challenging to differentiate between solvent-based, plant-based and eco-friendly products. Meaning although we have a calculation of sorts, it is by no means accurate in detail. As a result, we are now spending more time with individual manufacturers to get initial data and to apply pressure for more transparency.

Our approach to managing change is data-driven, which helps us make more effective and efficient decisions on product choices, workflow, usage of products and consumables, and carbon footprint comparisons. What we learn, we share, benefiting clients, social projects and our staff’s well-being.

Next steps

We recognise that this is a huge journey, but we are extremely passionate about it.

Our next steps are to continue to rally for better product and practice reporting while we develop new initiatives that help us and our clients make greener choices in facilities management.

Watch out for more news coming soon!